THIRTEEN WAS a lucky number for Moorside motorcycle racer Ashley Beech.
The 28-year-old finished 13th in round one of the National Superstock 1000 Championship at Donington Park to pick up points.
Beech and his Jones Dorling Racing team had started preparations for the new season soon after the last round of the 2016 championship in October.
During the winter the engine from his BMW S1000RR race bike was refreshed with worn or tired parts replaced and new components fitted to try and gain those extra brake horse power needed to get Beech battling for race wins.
In March he attended a four-day test at Cartagena in Spain and a further test session at the Valencia circuit with encouraging results.
Beech is familiar with both circuits having tested there many times in his career and his objective was to concentrate on testing new parts and not put too much emphasis on lap times although he came away from both sessions happy with his performance.
The first practise session at Donington Park went well on Friday for Beech and he finished fifth quickest, but weather changed for Saturday morning’s qualifying and he ended 13th and would start from the fifth row on the grid.
Light drizzle before the start of the 18 lap Saturday race, a newly introduced event this season, meant tyre choice was crucial and by the time Beech came back from the sighting lap he knew he had chosen the wrong combination.
He came back into the pits to change to wets but missed the deadline to line up on the grid and was then forced to start the race from pit lane.
By the time Beech joined the race he was last at the end of the first lap but with dogged determination he fought his way through almost half the field and crossed the line in 21st place.
A quick change to dry tyres and refuel and a great start to part two of the race and this time Beech passed nine riders before the end of the first lap and continued to pick up positions to finish in seventh position.
Despite a restart after just two laps of the Sunday feature race, Beech again got off the line well and battled hard for 12 gruelling laps to cross the line in 13th place scoring more valuable championship points.
Beech will be back out on track in two weeks at Brands Hatch for round two of the championship.
You can follow him and the team’s progress at www.jonesdorlingracing.com, on Twitter @JDR_Racing or on Facebook JonesDorlingRacing